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Monday, February 6, 2017

02052017 Transfiguration and 5th Sunday After Epiphany - We are moved by the Holy Spirit to speak of God!

February 5, 2017
We are moved by the Holy Spirit to speak of God (v. 21)
All of us have heard the tale of the young preacher who went to see a member of his congregation, but the conversation that occurred didn’t contain condemnation for the old man’s lack of attendance.  The fiery young preacher didn’t tell the member, he needed to give more money.  The young preacher didn’t try to get the man to get on a committee or come to church because he hadn’t attended during his entire tenure.
The young preacher sat quietly with the old man around an open fire pit, watching the fire burn brightly not only with glowing embers that consumed the wood added to the fire, but with a clear warmth.  After many minutes without a single word conversation.  The preacher reached over to the pair of tongs that were used to move the logs for maximum burn and warmth.
The preacher had noticed a lone rather large piece of cold coal from a long ago fire that was sitting very close to the old man’s feet that were outside of the warmth and clear burning of the rest of the fire.  Reaching purposefully, he picked up the cold coal and carefully placed it in the center of the fire with the bed of coals.  Very quickly the coal began to glow, the once cold coal now was glowing and heated up and burning with all the rest of the fire, heated by the warmth of its surroundings.
Minutes passed and with each moment the fire continued to radiate the warmth of the fire.  Slowly the preacher arose and bid his host a good day and left.  The very next Sunday, the old man, visited by the young preacher was seen returning to the warm embrace of the people that were journeying with him.
This story is a metaphor for us this morning of what we are celebrating.  Today we remember and celebrate when Jesus Transfigured before Peter, James and John.  Like the coal that had been separated from the fire for too long, once ‘reintroduced’ or ‘returned’ to the warm embrace of the fire that cold piece of coal became aglow from the fire.  Jesus in His transfiguration, showed His true Glory to the three disciples and enkindled in them not only an awe, but especially the realization that Jesus Christ, the man they had walked with and lived with, was not just a simple man, but truly the Son of God.
The change or transfiguration that occurred of Jesus not only changed the reality of the disciples understanding of Who Jesus was, but would radically change not only their understanding of the man in their midst, but especially Whose Son He was, the Son of God.  It would also transfigure their future after Jesus was raised from the dead and walked with them, ate meals and became transfigured by Jesus Christ.
We who gather here today are not only the spiritual descendants of the disciples, our understanding of Whose Son Jesus was is clearer than it was for the disciples.  We look back with 20/20 vision of Jesus Christ.  We see through the lens of the Gospel message not only portrayed, but fulfilled on the Cross of Calvary.  We see a Savior Whose death on Calvary transfigured us and our reality through our baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death, resurrection, but also His Transfiguration before Peter, James and John.
What does this mean for us today?  With our celebration of Jesus Transfiguration, we have but one joyful task to do.  We are moved by the Holy Spirit to speak of God.  For Peter since he witnessed these events, wrote his epistle and we who read it are empowered, no, we are moved by the Holy Spirit that has been given to us in Holy Baptism and inspired to speak of God and His Son Jesus Christ to all that we meet.
While I was under the weather this last week, I watched Risen, in preparation for our “Films of Faith” next month.  So compelling is this story that it isn’t just a story of mystery of the risen Christ, or of relationship, but of discovery and how one individual, a non-believer, discovered the truth and began to truly understood the Gospel message and was moved to become like the disciples, ‘fishers of men’.
We who gather here today gather having heard the first-hand account of the disciples who witnessed the transfiguration and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We have heard read Peter’s message which has one intent in mind.  Not only to give God the greatest glory, but in order that we who gather here today, may be moved.  Moved not to division nor indifference, but in order that the Gospel message of salvation of what Jesus Christ did on Calvary may be spread to the ends of the earth. 

Just as the Roman Prefect was changed by this message in “Risen”, we to can be transfigured.  It is my prayer that we through the Work of the Holy Spirit can be changed, in order that “We are moved by the Holy Spirit to speak of God”.  Not only here within the walls of the church, but in our community, in order that the saving message of Jesus Christ will impact our world.  So today let us resolve to move each of us closer into the fire and warmth of the church and set us ablaze to speak of God.  In order that God can transfigure each of our hearts, our minds and our spirits, just as He did with the three disciples.  And ultimately move us by the Holy Spirit to speak of God daily.  So that on the last day God will usher each of us into eternity with our transfigured Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

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